English 110 is a discussion-based introduction to the discipline that acts both as a gateway for the major and a service course for non-majors, wherein lies the challenge of teaching it. While preparing many students to become English majors and minors, English 110 also serves perhaps an equal number for whom it will be their only course in the Department. The English Department has adopted the following five learning outcomes and agreed that all sections of English 110 should be designed to fulfill the following goals.
Students who successfully complete English 110 will:
- Master basic terms of literary study
- Utilize close reading as a primary skill of literary analysis
- Encounter other interpretive methods that build upon the principle of close reading
- Recognize the conventions of different genres
- Develop interpretive arguments both in writing and discussion
- Understand the significance of historically underrepresented perspectives and traditions
All instructors should include these learning outcomes on their syllabi and should do the following to help aim toward completion of these outcomes. In order…
- To master basic terms of literary study
Use The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms as a standard reference work. Adopt short list of key terms that all students will learn.
- To utilize close reading as a primary skill of literary analysis
Assign the first extended essay as an exercise in close reading, which we define (following The Bedford} as “nuanced and thorough analysis of a literary text… as a means of interpreting and illuminating its complexities.”
- To encounter other interpretive methods that build upon the principle of close reading.
Use The Bedford to reinforce comprehension of these methods. All sections should include a final exam that tests close reading skills and knowledge of literary terms.
- To recognize the conventions of different genres.
Include a representative selection of fiction, poetry, and drama.
- To develop interpretive arguments both in writing and discussion
Assign no fewer than three substantial graded writing assignments, one of which is at least 5 pages. Include a variety of other assignments that emphasize writing and close reading.
- To understand the significance of historically underrepresented perspectives and traditions
Ensure that the syllabus integrates texts from diverse traditions.
200-level Studies Courses in English
Students who successfully complete 200-level Studies Courses in English will:
- Describe literature in its historical contexts
- Differentiate between at least two periods of literary history
- Identify how literature and culture are interrelated
- Continue to develop and refine skills as close readers of literary texts
- Continue to develop interpretive arguments about literary texts
200-level Creative Writing Workshops
Students who successfully complete creative writing workshops at the 200-level will:
- Examine and describe choices writers make to construct meaning and express human experiences
- Identify the traditions, controversies, vocabulary, and conventions pertinent to the craft of poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction
- Demonstrate in their own poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction an awareness of the relationship between form and subject matter
- Revise their own poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction by considering feedback
- Provide constructive and informed feedback on peers’ poetry, fiction, or literary’ nonfiction
Students who successfully complete 300-level courses in English (with the exception of 385 and 390) will:
- Continue to hone their skills as close readers of literary texts
- Enhance their understanding of the relationship between text and context (liter;u·y, historical) begun in the 200-level Studies courses
- Refine their ability to ask relevant, independent interpretive questions of liter;u·y texts
- encounter relevant examples of literary criticism and be able to summarize and respond to the argument of select articles
- Complete a research project that draws on relevant literary criticism as part of its interpretive argument or, complete a final project that demonstrates comprehension of formal conventions within a genre
Students who successfully complete a 400-level literature course in English will:
- Continue to hone their skills as close readers of literary texts.
- Find and evaluate relevant published criticism.
- Apply critical methods to a focused literary topic.
- Complete a substantial research project that displays a sustained sense of historical and cultural context.
Students who successfully complete a 400-level creative writing workshop will:
- Continue to hone their skills as writers who use language to construct meaning and express human experiences;
- Recognize how their own work fits into the traditions, controversies, vocabulary, and conventions pertinent to the craft of poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction;
- Find and evaluate relevant published craft-criticism;
- Demonstrate in their own poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction an awareness of the relationship between form and subject matter;
- Complete a substantial writing project in poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction that displays a sustained sense of artistic and craft awareness.
- Provide constructive and informed feedback on peers’ poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction.
The Junior Seminar
The junior seminar is required of all English majors and may be taken by minors to fulfill the 400- level requirement. These seminars place an emphasis on discussion, individual student research, and critical methodology. The subject matter of junior seminars varies according to individual instructors.
Students who successfully complete a Junior Seminar in English will:
- Demonstrate their skills as close readers of literary texts.
- Articulate an independent critical or craft-based question informed by individual interests and scholarly research.
- Formulate an answer to the question that combines independent research and original textual analysis.
- Complete a substantive written project that develops an original analysis situated in a broader scholarly tradition of theory, craft, or historical research.
The Senior Project
Every Allegheny student completes a Senior Project: a significant piece of original research or creative work, designed by the student under the guidance of a faculty advisor, that demonstrates the ability to complete a major assignment, to work independently, to analyze and synthesize information, and to write and to speak persuasively.